Language selection


A Post-War Career in Canadian Politics

Heroes Remember

A Post-War Career in Canadian Politics

When I was in, stationed at Rockcliffe, it was assumed that there'd be an election in 1944, because the previous one had been in ‘38, four years prior to that, and parties were nominating candidates for this expected election and somebody thought that they should have someone who was, who was in the forces in, nominated at least, at least stand for nomination. And I was approached to do this and I was informed by the official from the Progressive Conservative headquarters that it'd be quite simple. It would only take, you know, a five minute speech and that sort of thing and then I’d be free to come back and so on, but... So I agreed to let my name go up for the dual riding of Queens, in Prince Edward Island, as it was then, and there were seven candidates and much to my amazement I led the poll and myself and Chester MacLure were nominated. And so that started me on a different career entirely. I lost the, in a dual riding you don’t run against a particular person, it’s whoever comes in first and second that are elected. And in the first two elections I ran, I came in a close third each time, which is not good enough, of course, but I was elected in a by-election in 1951 and I was elected nine more times for, federally, for a total of ten times, which is, happened to be more often than anyone else from the Island was ever elected to the House of Commons. But then in 1976 I was asked and encouraged and pled with to take on the leadership of the provincial party here. So I resigned from the House of Commons and, and was picked as the leader of the Conservative party here on the Island and I was elected in 1979, and was premier until 1981, when I decided that I had enough of public life and that I was getting too old, that I should retire from politics, which I did, and try to live a normal life for awhile.

Mr. MacLean describes his post-war entry into the political arena in Canada, serving 10 terms as a Member of Parliament for a Prince Edward Island constituency, followed by a term as Premier of his home province.

John Angus MacLean

Mr. MacLean’s father was a farmer in eastern Prince Edward Island. His grandfather came to Canada from Scotland in 1832. Mr. MacLean had three brothers and four sisters. Two of his brothers died, one at the age of fiveand the other at the age of about one year. For the first two years of his higher education, Mr. MacLean attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. He went on to the University of British Columbia for his third year of study on a one-year scholarship, majoring in chemistry. In 1938, he returned to Mount Allison University to complete his studies and graduated in 1939. Following graduation, he answered a newspaper advertisement placed by the Royal Air Force for a short-term commission with the RAF. He was chosen as one of two successful Canadian candidates. But, before he could leave for England, the Second World War had started and he was offered a commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he accepted. Mr. MacLean’s bomber was brought down over Germany and he and his crew were forced to bail out. Mr. MacLean landed just inside occupied Holland and was moved along the Comet Line through Holland, Belgium and France to freedom in Spain. He’s an excellent story-teller with emphasis on detail. Mr. MacLean also had an outstanding post-war career as a politician. He served for 10 terms as a Member of Parliament and a term as Premier of his home province of Prince Edward Island.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Angus MacLean
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
North America
Air Force
Bomber Command

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: